Currently on a three game winning streak, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team is peaking at the right time. Across the nation, teams are jockeying for spots in their respective conference races. Some squads are rising to the challenge, like Wisconsin, while others appear to be crumbling under the pressure. Mere weeks away from March Madness, B5Q gives you a breakdown of the top games to watch from February 20 to February 27.
**Please note that team records are reflective as of Thursday morning 2/20/20**
Thursday, February 20
A top-25 Big Ten showdown in Iowa City headlines the night. Ohio State has won their last two games, but Iowa is still ahead of them in the conference standings. An Iowa loss would do wonders for the Badgers, as Iowa is among five teams — including Wisconsin — tied for third place.
A single game separates the top-six teams in the Pac-12. Oregon and Arizona State are two of the teams vying for the top spot in the conference, and have a big game on tap Thursday.
Other Thursday games of note:
- Michigan State Spartans at Nebraska Cornhuskers at 7:30 p.m. CST on FS1
- USC Trojans at No. 20 Colorado Buffaloes at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN2
Friday, February 21
VCU Rams (17-9) at Saint Louis Billikens (18-8) at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN2
Per usual, the basketball slate is fairly light on Friday night. This game is the best of the bunch, plus I wanted an excuse to write Billiken. VCU needs some big wins down the stretch to make the Big Dance.
Saturday, February 22
Oh boy. The two top teams in the Big 12 Conference square off in the game of the week. Both teams are currently projected as top seeds in the NCAA Tournament, and this game could determine the conference race.
While Providence is likely out of tournament contention, they can sure spoil the efforts of Marquette. The Golden Eagles are on the five-seed line currently, but that could change if they drop a game at Providence.
Other Saturday morning games of note:
- Tennessee Volunteers at No. 13 Auburn Tigers at 11 a.m. CST on CBS
- Virginia Cavaliers at Pittsburgh Panthers at 11 a.m. CST on ESPN2
Michigan has won three games in a row, but Purdue has been very good at home this season. Purdue has been struggling over the past few weeks though, while Michigan has finally regained their footing. This game could be fun.
Despite a solid record, the Musketeers have struggled during Big East play. Villanova on the other hand is only one and a half games behind Seton for the top spot in the conference standings.
Other Saturday afternoon games of note:
- No. 22 Houston Cougars at Memphis Tigers at 1 p.m. CST on ESPN2
- UCLA Bruins at No. 18 Colorado Buffaloes at 3 p.m. CST on CBS
Kentucky has won five straight games to retain first place in the SEC. These two teams still must play twice over the next two weeks though, giving Florida plenty of opportunities to close the two-game gap that exists between them.
No. 14 Oregon Ducks (20-6) at No. 24 Arizona Wildcats (18-7) at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN
The deep Pac-12 showcases two of their best teams Saturday night. Oregon was able to secure a one-point victory over Arizona last time these two teams met at home. Can Arizona get revenge in Tucson?
Gonzaga has absolutely run through their schedule, with their lone loss against Michigan earlier this season. BYU was blasted by the Bulldogs last time they met, but the game is in Provo for round two.
Other Saturday primetime games of note:
- LSU Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks at 5 p.m. CST on ESPN2
- Virginia Tech Hokies at No. 6 Duke Blue Devils at 7 p.m. CST on ESPN2
Sunday, February 23
Penn State took a big L at home against Illinois recently, but they have an opportunity to bounce back against Indiana. The Hoosiers are on the bubble currently, but they are 13-3 at home this season. A win over No. 9 Penn State would go a long way in securing a postseason bid.
As previously mentioned, the Badgers are winners of three straight. Rutgers, on the flip side, has only won one game away from home this year. Wisconsin hopes to keep both of those trends going in their favor Sunday in a game that has major B1G Tournament seeding implications.
No. 7 Maryland Terrapins (22-4) at No. 25 Ohio State Buckeyes (17-8) at 3 p.m. CST on CBS
Maryland, currently a cut above the rest of the Big Ten in the standings, will have a tough contest with Ohio State on Sunday afternoon. The Buckeyes are playing better basketball of late, while Maryland is one of the hottest teams in the country. Tipping off shortly after the Badger game concludes, this is an excellent game to watch.
Other Sunday games of note:
- Wichita State Shockers at Cincinnati Bearcats at 12 p.m. CST on ESPN
- Saint John’s Red Storm at No. 16 Seton Hall Pirates at 1 p.m. CST on CBS
- No. 21 Butler Bulldogs at No. 15 Creighton Bluejays at 3 p.m. CST on FS1
The Kohl Center is the perfect cure for the Sunday Scaries— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) February 19, 2020
Home again against Rutgers on Sunday pic.twitter.com/l8VDcCkOsS
Monday, February 24
The second best game of the week features a pair of teams both tied for second place in the ACC. Standing only a half a game behind Duke, both Louisville and Florida State could really use a signature win. Expect a really good battle in Tallahassee.
Other Monday games of note:
- No. 17 West Virginia Mountaineers at Texas Longhorns at 6 p.m. CST on ESPNU
- Nebraska Cornhuskers at Illinois Fighting Illini at 7 p.m. CST on BTN
- Oklahoma State Cowboys at No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN
Tuesday, February 25
No. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes (18-8) at Michigan State Spartans (17-9) at 6 p.m. CST on ESPN2
Michigan State welcomes an Iowa team that will push their depth inside Tuesday night. This game is the only meeting between the two squads, so it could have a drastic impact on conference seeding as the season winds down.
Other Monday games of note:
- No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats at Texas A&M Aggies at 6 p.m. CST on ESPN
- Memphis Tigers at SMU Mustangs at 8 p.m. CST on CBSSN
Looks like Bubble Wednesday! pic.twitter.com/hKArW5JIdf— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) February 19, 2020
Wednesday, February 26
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (18-9) at No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions (20-6) at 6 p.m. CST on BTN
The first in a double-feature on BTN, Rutgers is on the road again, this time against Penn State. Both teams are fighting for a top three position in the final Big Ten standings, and this game will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in determining their landing spots.
No. 7 Maryland Terrapins (22-4) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-13) at 8 p.m. CST on BTN
Minnesota has struggled recently, losing four of their last five games. The Gophers have fallen off from the bubble watch, and need a huge win to vault them back into contention. This is their opportunity.
Other Monday games of note:
- Saint John’s Red Storm at No. 12 Villanova Wildcats at 5:30 p.m. CST on FS1
- Georgetown Hoyas at No. 19 Marquette Golden Eagles at 7:30 p.m. CST on FS1
- LSU Tigers at Florida Gators at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN2